Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Writing About Themselves

It is interesting that beginning with Nibley, continuing through Sorenson, and then with others, like Michael M. Hobby, there is this attitude among theorists that the Nephites were only interested about themselves and refused to include anyone else in their writing.
   As an example, Sorenson wrote of this: “The Book of Mormon--a religiously oriented lineage history--is primarily a record of events kept by and centrally involving the Nephites. Since the account was written from the perspective of this people (actually, of its leaders), all other groups are understood and represented from the point of view of Nephite elites. There are only fragments in the Nephite record that indicate directly the perspectives of other groups, or even of Nephite commoners” (“Book of Mormon Peoples,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1992. p191).
    Hobby (p17) adds, “The Book of Mormon is at first not as helpful in describing the relationship between the Mulekites and the Jaredites because it is not a Mulekite record.  However, although no direct account is provided, confirmation of their relationship looms between the lines.”
    As Hobby states, there is no direct account of Mulekite and Jaredite overlap and cultural mix in the scriptures.  What “looms between the lines is found in Hobby’s imagination, because there is no direct or indirect suggestion, hint, or intimation that these two cultures were even on the land of promise at the same time, let along in the same place other than the overlap of Coriantumr for the nine months he stayed in the Mulekite camp. 
    As disconnected as it is, the belief in an overlap generally comes from three scriptural references:
1.  Coriantumr was found by the Mulekites (Omni 1:21);
2.  Limhi sent his 43-man expedition to find Zarahemla, they instead found a land heaped with bones and instruments of war (Mosiah 8:8, 11);
3.  The finding of Jaredite names among the Nephites in Zarahemla.
     However, what scholars fail to realize regarding Corianturm:
At some point in time, Coriantumr wanders into the land of Zarahemla and is discovered by the people of Zarahemla (the Mulekites)
•  The scriptures are silent as to when Coriantumr came among the Mulekites.  Since the Mulekites left Jersualem only a few years after Lehi, and since Lehi spent at least 8 years before reaching Bountiful (1 Nephi 17:4) and another year or two while a ship was built, it is possible that both the Lehi colony and the Mulek colony reached the land of promise within a very short time of each other.
•  Coriantumr may not have died from the wounds he sustained in the last battle with Shiz as scholars propose.  After all, there is no indication that these two events were connected, especially when we consider that he had survived other serious wounds that stopped him from fighting earlier (Ether 14:30; 15:9), but he recovered sufficiently to lead his people in several more engagements and fight so valiantly and strongly that he was the last of his side alive (Ether 15:29).  To say he could not have recovered from those wounds sustained in the last battle is not in keeping with the scriptural record of events, nor the history of this man. 
•  Coriantumr may have wandered around after this last battle, the sole survivor of his people, for many years and eventually went into the Land Southward where he encountered the Mulekites in his old age.  This would serve two purposes.  First, Coriantumr would have a long time to dwell upon his unwillingness to repent, thus bringing about the total destruction of his people; and second, he definitely would have come to realize that he was “the last man standing” of his people and the millions of deaths he had caused by his stubbornness; and third, it would serve to impress upon him when he finally found the Mulekites that the Lord was, indeed, the Lord and the prophecy of Ether was truly to be fulfilled, i.e., that he would live to see another people inherit the land.
•  Since Amaleki tells us the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) had been led across the ocean to land and settle where Mosiah found them, and since Coriantumr fought his last battle in the land northward, many miles north of Zarahemla, it could have taken him a very long time to wander that far south.  If he did die in his old age, after spending nine months among the Jaredites—plenty of time to see they were the people who were inheriting the land as prophesied—he would know all along that he would die among them and they would bury him as Ether prophesied.  Thus, in these events there could be no doubt in his mind that Ether had accurately prophesied of all that would befall Coriantumr. 
In addition, what scholars fail to realize regarding the bones, ruins and instruments of war: 
•  It was imperative that the Nephites learn about the Jaredites and their total destruction so they would have a visual confirmation of Lehi's forewarning regarding what would happen to them if they fell away.  Thus the Lord provided the testimony of three witnesses: 1) the written record of Ether; 2) the visual confirmation of seeing the bones and ruins, and 3) the prophecies of Lehi, Nephi and other prophets.
•  The Lord had Ether hide his record on the 24 plates of gold so that Limhi's 43-man expedition could find it (Ether 15:33).  Nothing else is said.  However, it is not beyond our understanding to realize the Lord might have preserved the land so it would be obvious that 1) the bones represented a numerous host of people (Mosiah 8:8), 2) the numerous instruments of war showed that war was what brought about that destruction, and 3) the ruins of the many buildings testified of an advanced civilization. 
•  Bones, contrary to scholars oft-stated view, can remain for a very long time in a state of near-perfect preservation if the climate and conditions are conducive to such preservation.  While scholars like to lay claim that these bones were found in the tropical lands of Central America where decay is often more rapid and where jungles overtake the land quickly, there is no suggestion of such a land stated in the scriptures.  In fact, this land was treeless and remained such until the first century A.D. when Nephites living there would not allow a sapling tree to be cut down or disturbed so that the land could once again provide timber for building (Helaman 3:9).  Thus, we are left to speculate somewhat on the conditions and circumstances; however, while parts of a land may be hot and humid, it does not mean another part of the land was—and the last Jaredite wars covered from sea to sea, and no doubt, from north to south—that is the narrow neck of land.
•  Since metals rust from moisture, if the swords and bucklers had lain in an area devoid of mositure, they would last in their state of preservation far longer than if they lay near the seashore or in a damp jungle.  Take the land northward away from Central America and place it elsewhere, and the state of preservation may well have been centuries.

The scriptures, of course, shed no light on the issue of preservation, nor do they suggest in one direction or the other.  But we do have scriptures, especially found in Ether, that suggest the Jaredites were facing their final battle before Lehi left Jerusalem as pointed out elsewhere in this work. 
What scholars fail to realize regarding the Jaredite names among the Nephites: 
•  Names found in the Jaredite record are often considered Jaredite names, however, several names, Like Ephraim, Seth, Aaron, Levi, and Jared are not Jaredite names, but Biblical names found in the Old Testament. (For a full explanation of Book of Mormon names and their origin, including the so-called Jaredite names, see the author's The Jaredite / Mulekite Civilization and the Date of Jaredite Landing and Destruction in his book Who Really Settled in Mesoameria
 •  Numerous names, like Coriantumr and Moron, are considered Jaredite but the mr and mor portions in names is Egyptian and typically the most oft-found name found in early Egyptian of the 600 B.C. period.
•  Names like Korihor are the same as the Egyptian Kherihor, and though scholars attribute this name to the Jaredites, it is really an old Egyptian name.
•  Names with a Pa- beginning are peculiar and can be matched exactly in Egyptian.  Pa- beginning names are among the most common type in late Egyptian history (matching the time of Lehi).
•  Kish, Kash, and Kush are the most widespread name in the ancient world, known fully to Lehi as well as Mulek and Jared.
•  There are only two names in all of scripture that show a scriptural reference to their origin, and that only back to Zarahemla. One is Ammon who was sent to find Limhi's people, and the other is Coriantumr, who was a Nephite defector that stirred up the Lamanites and led them against his former brethren.  All other claims are only supposition based upon names found in the Ether record, but also found in Asia, Mesopotamia, Palenstine, Arabia, and Egypt.  Frequently these names have Hittite/Hurrian backgrounds and could be attributed to any of the name origins of Mesopotamia, Israelite, or even Egyptian.
    Thus, all that can be learned from names in the Book of Mormon is that they are quite consistent with names throughout early Asia and the Middle East both in 2100 B.C. and in 600 B.C.

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